I would highly recommend watching at least one of Mark Biasotti's SolidWorks World presentations. He is the SolidWorks resident expert on Surfacing and Industrial Design. My favourite would be "Everything Curves and Surfaces" which runs about 1h 30m, but every second will be very well worth your time!
Since the online site only has 2011 up to 2013 presentations, I uploaded this one on Dropbox for you to download. It's an .flv file which can be watched with FLV Player and likely the ubiquitous VLC media player just as good. I wouldn't recommend streaming it from Dropbox, as I have found the video quality can be impacted because of the streaming.
Yes, your gut instinct hits the nail right on the head. Surfacing is the way to go! watching the presentation and experimenting around for yourself, you should notice it is not nearly as scary at it may seem at first. A solid model is just a surface model that's fully closed. When you are using surfaces, you are generally simply modeling smaller chunks of design intent at a time.
Here are some other resources you might want to look into. Charles Culp has a very nice site for tutorials. Look under the Surfacing tab:
Ed Eaton did a great set of "Curvy Stuff" presentations:
Ed's presentations run back quite a ways, so the user interface may have changed a bit but the ideas are still very good. The other presentations are also quite good.
Thanks Kevin and Jerry,
I watched the video that Kevin kindly placed on DropBox. ... And I also took at look at the other links and downloaded some examples, which I went though using the rollback tool and examining sketches and features.
I think that I understand what the various surface tools are, and also how to now use splines and I'll probably avoid 3d sketching for now (unless its the best way to achieve what I need to do).
However, I need to now work out how to get my sketched curves created in a 3d nest if you will. ... I am not quite sure of the best way, and I would like to dicsuss it.
I have created an annotated picture here:-
I have labelled the faces that we can see in Blue as A & B
- and I have labelled the curves that are visible on the drawing as 1 to 5 in Red.
- Face A will be curved in both directions (from line 1-2 gently curving, and also from line 3-4. So I am guessing that this is a Boundry surface? ... However, between the number 3 and the letter A there is a more curved area. So should I just make the Boundly Surface up to the lighter line, between the letter A and the number 3?
- Face B is likely to be slightly curved, and I will want to control and tweak this. Towards to bottom of face B, there is a slight increase in curvature.
- The product will split in two. So I am guessing that the split line will follow the combined lines 1,2,3,4 (and the rear of the case, will be a slightly different colour, and texture).
I need to be able to control this as much as possible, and ideally I would like to model to be parametric. In fact, I think it is essential that for the customer, that I can pull and push faces in and out once the model is complete.
So, there are many options:-
- I need to choose the right way to start
1. Create curves 1,2,3,4 in one continuous 3d sketch? Then boundry or fill?
2. Or, should I start by creating some Intersection Curves for the lines 2 and 5, make up from 2d sketches? ... But then how do I link line 3 to it properly?
3. Or should I try to make Surface B as a Surface Extrude, up from a sketch, and then try to project the lines 2 & 5 on to it. Then trim away the excess. But then how do I build the line 3? ... Maybe I can make the ends of line 3 match up with the base of Sketch line 2? ... I am guessing that this is the way to go?
I only have limited time to experement, as I work for myself. And also by Monday I have to
(a) draw up a punch tool
(b) design another (simpler) consumer item concept
(c) write some instructions for a new product
(d) write up a complex quote for electonics work
(e) get an item on the 3d printer
Lol. Probably some more stuff. ... I am going to try method 3, but I could really benefit from some experienced advice.
.... Hmmm. Seems that you can't use Intersection Curves to create surfaces with
... And now I am trying without success to Mirror Curves and Sketches. ... Its can't be done!
I have tried to do a bit more. But why is one of the Spline endpoints not draggable in length, and the other one is.
The one under my mouse pointer drags. But its mirror image wont.
I am trying to make them the same length. But one seems to be editable, and the other one is not. Can I link these values, or dimension them somehow?
I'm an ME, not an ID, so I'm afraid I can't help very much on your questions. I would shy away from approach 1, using 3D sketches, as I find them very tricky to develop and use. I incline toward your method 2. One trick here is that Intersection Curves get very finicky as the intersection approaches vertical to one or the other of the component curves. Approach 3 is basically the same as approach 2. Intersection Curves are functionally equivalent to Extruding Surfaces and Trimming them to get the common edge.
I would try building just half of the part and then mirror it. That will eliminate the problem of trying to make curve 3 symmetrical by controling the tangencies at the ends. If you keep going with the full model, you will have to examing the relations of the handles with Display/Delete Relations to see why the one if fully defined. You will have to add the same relations to the other, or delete some from the first and then dimension the two to be equal. (Linked dimensions work nicely here.)
I'm having trouble understanding how you will develop the thickness of the part where curve 3 meets surface B. It seems like it would be much easier if curve 3 were more like curve 4, not tangent to curves 1 and 2. But that probably is not what you really want the part to look like.
I would suggest checking out this simple model I made a while back. It will go through some of the basics on creating smooth curvy shapes with symmetry. I hope this helps.
How do the zebra stripes look on your puffy box? I did one with all conics and boundary surfaces and the shape had nasty reflections. The same sections using a GW3D conic surface was smooth and continuous curvature everywhere. Does your box have smooth curvature combs?
The zebra stripes look fairly good. The curvature analysis is only so-so though. I believe that the surfaces are much better than these analyses show. I remember when rendering for the first image I was happy with how smooth it was regardless of the view. When you look at the curvature image I was expecting much worse.
can you put some pics of the top, front and side to get a better view?